“Fourth term, don’t care.”

And with those words, Gov. Chris Sununu kicked off his final — and least consequential — State of the State address on Thursday.

The chief executive’s speech to the state legislature clocked in at under 30 minutes, dominated by what Sununu acknowledged has become his oft-repeated litany of the top rankings New Hampshire has collected on his watch. In addition to the state’s top ranking for best taxpayer return on investment, economic freedom, and lowest poverty rate, Sununu threw in some new wins.

“Did you know that our Corrections System was ranked #1 for the first time ever?” Sununu asked. “Or here’s one: In two separate reports, our workforce is ranked as both the smartest and one of the most productive in the nation.”

Nearly all of the speech was a look back, as opposed to proposals for goals in Sununu’s final 10 months in office. Assuming they are his final months.

After his “fourth term, don’t care” quip, Sununu reminded the chamber that the filing period to run “doesn’t expire until June, so you never know.”

“Just kidding,” Sununu said before adding: “Councilor Warmington almost fell out of her chair right now. Just kidding, Cinde!”

Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, was sitting in the front row.

In a speech light on specifics and with few references to the future, Sununu touched on three policies that divided the chamber along partisan lines, getting cheers from Republicans but silence from Democrats: Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs), ending the interest and dividends income tax, and securing the border.

Democrats sat grim-faced as Sununu touted the EFA program and urged the legislature to continue to expand access to the program.

“Families are singing the praises of Concord for finally passing Education Freedom Accounts, which are now ranked as the most effective and popular school choice program in America – and why passing HB1665 to expand this program is a great opportunity for New Hampshire families,” Sununu said as Republicans applauded. “Let’s get it done!”

HB1665 raises the eligibility level for EFA applicants to 500 percent of the federal poverty level. It’s already passed the House. Sununu didn’t mention any of the more ambitious EFA legislation, like HB1677, which came up for a vote in the House later that day. It would make EFA access universal for families in failing public school districts. It went down to defeat 192-174.

“He’s phoning it in,” one House Republican said of Sununu after the speech. “He’s looking ahead to his next thing.”

However, Kate Baker Demers, executive director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund that oversees the EFA program, told NHJournal her organization was grateful for Sununu’s public support of the program.

“Like Gov. Sununu, we believe that every child should have the education they need to thrive, and the EFA makes that possible,” Baker Demers said.

Democrats, on the other hand, continued to denounce the program.

Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) released a statement criticizing Sununu for the “irresponsible expansion of the education freedom account program that has siphoned money out of our public school system.”

And Warmington released a video statement after the speech criticizing Sununu as well.

In an email headlined “Highest-Ranking NH State Democrat Cinde Warmington Responds to Governor Sununu’s State of the State Address,” Warmington said, “As your governor, I will put an end to this voucher scheme that’s undermining our public schools and raising property taxes. I’ll make sure that taxpayers’ dollars go to public schools.”

Warmington sent her own children to a private academy.

Sununu addressed the repeated claim that EFAs have harmed public school finances in his speech.

“Next year, the education surplus is expected to reach $232 million dollars,” and “we now spend more dollars per child on public education than ever before.”

Sununu also celebrated the phase-out of the state’s only income tax — the tax on income from interest and dividends that comes to an end as of Jan. 1, 2025 — in the face of calls by some Democrats to bring it back.

Republicans also cheered when Sununu laid out his plans to “go to the legislature to request funds for additional National Guard to join other states across the country at Eagle Pass, Texas, where some of the highest incidents of illegal crossings have occurred.”

“This is not a Texas problem. It is a national crisis,” Sununu said of the chaos at the border. “And New Hampshire has the chance to provide specialized support, follow the laws of the land, and keep our citizens safe.”

Interestingly, Warmington’s post-speech statement didn’t mention the immigration issue, and she has declined to say if she supports Sununu’s border proposal.

Her Democratic competitor, former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, has called Sununu’s decision “wrong” and says Granite State Republicans should have supported the Biden-backed $118 billion border-Ukraine-Israel funding bill that died in the U.S. Senate earlier this month.

After the speech, state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley offered his verdict.

“Chris Sununu opening his final state-of-the-state address with ‘fourth term don’t care’ was a perfect encapsulation of his failures to support Granite Staters as governor,” Buckley said in a statement.

But Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn) praised Sununu’s leadership and looked to the future.

“As the governor said, we cannot take our successes for granted. We must continue to fight for our ‘Live Free or Die’ principles, stick to our campaign promises, and ensure taxpayer money stays where it belongs: peoples’ pockets.”